October 25, 2011

The Tablet Revolution

The Social component – Still Emerging

About one-in-four tablet owners, 39%, use their tablet daily for social networking on sites like Facebook and Twitter. And 56% do so at least weekly-the same percentage that play games on their tablet at least once week. These are not exact comparisons to social networking habits on other devices, but a 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 65% of all online adults said that they were social network users and 29% of adults with cell phones who reported using SNS on their phones.

When it comes to news consumption on the tablet, the social networking component-at least electronically-is still evolving. A portion of users, 16%, share news through email or social networking regularly, the same percentage who watch news videos. Another quarter share news this way at least sometimes. But 41% say they have never shared news stories electronically. When a select group of tablet news users was asked about their tablet activity in the last seven days, the numbers grew somewhat: 39% reported sharing headlines through social networking sites, and 38% said they shared longer articles.

In January 2010, 52% of all adults who got news online said they forwarded links to news stories or blogs via email, social news networks or Twitter. Even more, get their own news this way. Fully 75% of adults who got news online reported having news forwarded to them through email or posts on SNS.

The youngest age group, 18-to 29-year-olds, are the most likely to do social networking on the tablet, though young adults are no more likely to share news. Six-in-ten 18-29 year olds access social networks daily on their tablet, but they really are no more likely than other tablet news users to share news stories regularly through their tablet device (19% of 18-to-29-year-olds, 17% of 30-to-49-year-olds and 15% of 50-to-64-year-olds).

The app power user is no more likely than the browser user to share news through email or social networking. The one group that seems more prone than others to share news via email or SNS is non-white individuals. About a quarter of this demographic group share news stories, while that is the case for just 14% of non-Hispanic whites. Overall though, social networking is just not, at least not yet, a major part of getting news on these devices.